Goals give students a sense of purpose and achievement. Setting clear goals allows them to work towards what they want, which in turn fosters valuable life skills, such as perseverance and resilience.
By setting goals, students learn that short-term sacrifices are sometimes required for long-term success, and that they are responsible for their own achievements. Clearly defined goals can improve academic results and increase self-confidence.
Follow these five strategies to help your student set effective goals in 2019:
The first step when coming up with goals is to brainstorm what your student wants. This should be fun, and the sky’s the limit! Encourage them to be adventurous and think about what they’d like to achieve throughout their lives. They can write it down or just talk about it, but the point is to get them thinking about their goals and seeing the bigger picture. Goals need to be personally meaningful. When students understand what they are working towards, it can help them to persevere when they are feeling stressed or unmotivated.
After you’ve brainstormed what your student wants, it’s time to set small, clear goals that will help them succeed. While goals need to be realistic and achievable, they shouldn’t be too easy. Research has found that the most effective goals are those that are reasonably difficult. The whole purpose of goal-setting is for students to improve and stretch themselves, and goals should reflect this. It’s helpful to list goals in order of priority and break each one down into smaller steps or create an action plan. Start with a couple of goals to build confidence and work from there.
The SMART model for goal-setting is based on the idea that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Applying a timeframe is very important because goals that are open-ended will not increase motivation as effectively. Knowing when a goal needs to be achieved by gives students the opportunity to assess how they are going and take remedial action if needed.
After you’ve come up with some goals and a timeframe for achieving them, it’s time to write them down. A chart or poster that your student will see every day is helpful as it will keep their goals in mind. The wording and timeframe for each goal should be clear so that students know exactly what is required and when, and the results should be easily measurable. Language should always be positive and focus on what will be gained, not what is lacking.
Reflection is an essential part of goal-setting. When students achieve a goal, they can reflect on what they did to make this happen, furnishing them the skills and self-knowledge to achieve further success. Failure is also an important part of the process and provides a valuable learning opportunity. Rather than casting blame, students can evaluate their progress and pinpoint why they didn’t achieve their goal this time, allowing them to make different choices in the future.